Jesus, the Unique Son of God: Tested and Faithful -- By: Don B. Garlington

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 151:603 (Jul 1994)
Article: Jesus, the Unique Son of God: Tested and Faithful
Author: Don B. Garlington

Jesus, the Unique Son of God: Tested and Faithful

Don B. Garlington

[Don R. Garlington is Professor of New Testament, Toronto Baptist Seminary, Toronto, Ontario.]

The uniqueness of Jesus Christ is the characteristic feature of New Testament Christology. Claims such as those of Acts 4:12, that there is no other name whereby one may be saved, and of Colossians 1:18, that Christ alone is to have the preeminence in the universe, bear witness to the singularity of His Person and work.

How can one account for the remarkable—indeed, the astonishing—devotion bestowed on Jesus of Nazareth? How is it that people inhabiting “the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8), in syncretistic societies ancient and modern, have come to acknowledge Him as “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42)? There is only one way: people have accepted what the New Testament claims for Him. He is none other than God incarnate (John 1:1, 14), the Lord to whom every knee shall bow (Isa 45:23; Phil 2:10).

The thesis of this article is that Jesus’ testing in the wilderness of Judea is one of the most significant indicators of His uniqueness. In fact it may not be stretching the point to say that the very purpose of the temptation narratives is to underscore His uniqueness. Though the temptations to which He was exposed are, at heart, the same as those that beset the people of God (Heb 4:15), there is a personal and messianic aspect of His trial that places Him in a category of His own. While various individuals in the Old Testament and postbiblical Judaism are set forth as examples of faith and perseverance, an awareness of which was very much alive in the first century (e.g., Sirach 44–50; 2 Maccabees 7; Testament of Moses 9), He is portrayed in the Gospels and elsewhere as the One who gives meaning to all who went before Him.

The Connection of Jesus’ Temptations with His Baptism

All the Synoptics relate Jesus’ testing in the wilderness with His baptism chronologically. However, in Mark 1:12 the links between the two are especially clear, because, in Mark’s customary expression, “at once” (εὐθ...

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